Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brain Development Presentation

For one of the evening sessions, both ED Psych sections went to the Decorah Middle School to hear Karen Williams speak about brain development and research. Her presentation was very interesting. She explained that the memory is the essence of all development. Also, during a person’s lifetime, there are three main periods of brain development, which include while in the womb, from age one to six, and from age twelve to sixteen. The time in the womb is the starting point, then the second period is a time of learning the basics, and the third period is learning new basics. The years in-between these periods are when the individual improves the basics or new basics. These developmental stages occur with exposure, they do not just happen. The brain develops in stages, on schedule, and matures around the age of twenty-five. Karen Williams said that the brain develops back to front, and the last part of your brain to develop is the executive thinking function. Since the front of the brain is the last to develop, it is extremely beneficial for young adults to avoid alcohol because their large thinking skills have not developed yet. Alcohol consumption by teens also has a large impact on their learning. While learning new information, teens have a much more difficult time recalling the information and remembering if they have become drinkers. Ultimately this presentation stressed the importance of helping children develop from early on, so that their brains can fully develop during each of the three main periods. Karen Williams’ presentation also emphasized the negative effects of teens drinking, due to the harmful consequences to the brain. All in all I thought that the presentation was very interesting. She was extremely dramatic, which helped to keep our attention, and she successfully got the information across to her audience.

More information on Karen William’s presentation and UCLA brain development research can be found at:

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